Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Popular Home Design Trends 2018

Basement Living Area- with bigger or extended families living under the same roof, people tend to want some separate living spaces.  The basement is a perfect area for an extra bedroom or two!  Basement remodels can even include a kitchen and bathroom where your extended family can have complete privacy and separation from the main house.  And, according to the annual Cost vs. Value report, they're moving up in home return, too. Look for ways to lighten and brighten your own to lessen the underground feeling - white-painted ceilings, light trim, and whitewashed walls and wood floors.

White Flooring- not only are people obsessed with white kitchens right now, another trend is white flooring.  Think white tile in the bathroom and kitchen areas, and white wood flooring in living areas. White brightens up even the darkest rooms and works with nearly every color combo, which is why it's so popular.  Just make sure to keep your broom and mop ready to clean up any dirt and messes :) 

Smart Home- automatic controls is one of the biggest home design trends for 2018.  Not only can it save on energy, it can be customized even when you're away from home.  Tablets, smartphones, apps: they've combined to create the most connected home. Tech advances are one remodeling trend that's particularly hardworking, allowing homeowners to add flexibility, convenience, and even affordability (such as using your device to turn the lights off).

Open Kitchen- a connection between the kitchen, eating, and living space continues to be a trend in both new home construction and remodels.  This is a big advantage for cooks who like to stay connected with guests while preparing food.  No need for everyone to move from room to room while dining or entertaining. 

Tankless Water Heaters- as more homeowners look to save on energy and money, tankless water heaters will grow in popularity. The tankless water heaters provide hot water only as needed so they are not constantly heating up water when not in use.  They come in both gas-fired and electric models, they are also significantly smaller than traditional water heaters for those looking to save space. 

Plants- while houseplants never go out of style, decor featuring plants is big in 2018.  Plants are an easy way to design on a budget and can add pops of color to any space.  You can choose bright flowers, colorful planters, or large statement pieces.  If you don't have a green thumb, there are lots of beautiful faux plant options.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Stay Cool And Save Energy

With summer comes hot weather, which also leads to higher energy bills.  Although cooling down starts with turning on the AC, there are other factors that can help keep your home cool that won't cost an arm and a leg.

Energy Star Certified- whether you have a central unit that cools the whole house or a window unit to cool each room, make sure that it is energy star certified.  It can save you over $100/year.  In addition to it being energy efficient, make sure that you are cleaning the filter regularly.

Curtains- an inexpensive detail can make a big difference in your energy costs.  Insulated curtains give your windows extra protection against the heat.  By blocking out the hot summer sun, the curtains help to keep cool air in.

Insulation- many older homes have insulation that may not be as efficient as the newer types of insulation currently available.  Leaks and gaps in insulation can cost a lot of money both in the hot and cold months.  You don't have to completely replace the insulation, it may be able to be salvaged by sealing it or adding extra insulation where needed.

Windows- Windows let in the sunlight, but they could also letting all the cool air escape.  Energy saving windows can be the upgrade you need to save money on your bills this summer.  If replacing them is not in your budget, consider making other changes such as re-caulking and weather stripping to eliminate any areas where the cool air may be getting out.

These small changes will not only keep you cooler and save money on your energy bills this summer, you will also be happy you made these changes once winter comes back around.